The Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center is located in Northeast Portland.
A former Multnomah County juvenile detention worker was arrested last month on suspicion of smuggling drugs to an incarcerated minor who said he tried to groom her for sex.
Nathan Lee Kirkpatrick had been working at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home in Northeast Portland for about a month in 2019 when he began to pursue the girl, who was 17 at the time, court records allege.
Kirkpatrick, now 31, was arrested Feb. 25 on suspicion of two counts of first-degree official misconduct. He posted $500 bail later that day.
Reached by phone Tuesday, he deferred questions to his attorney, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The formerly incarcerated youth, now 19, in June filed a civil lawsuit seeking $650,000 in damages from Kirkpatrick and Multnomah County, alleging Kirkpatrick groomed her, knew she had a prior substance abuse problem and gave her drugs, causing her to relapse.
The lawsuit remains open. The Oregonian/OregonLive is not naming the woman who filed the litigation and is alleged to have been targeted by Kirkpatrick while in custody.
Investigators received a search warrant in 2019 for her storage locker and found at least eight letters and diary entries indicating Kirkpatrick had proposed marriage, knew she was underage at the time and had suggested places in the detention center where they could have sexual contact without being seen, court documents allege.
Kirkpatrick at one point provided her with marijuana and cocaine, and she exposed herself to him, according to Multnomah County Circuit Court records. They also exchanged more than 100 phone calls, investigators said.
People in custody cannot consent to romantic relationships with jailers due to the imbalance of power. Such relationships are illegal in Oregon.
The teen was eventually transferred to the Oak Creek Correctional Facility in Albany, where she tested positive for the drugs provided by Kirkpatrick, records show.
“I feel bad,” Kirkpatrick wrote to her afterward, according to an affidavit written by Multnomah County sheriff’s Detective Daren Taber.
An unidentified man driving a car registered in Kirkpatrick’s name later arrived at the Albany facility, tried to put money on her account and was rebuffed by jail staff, court documents allege.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office launched a criminal investigation in 2019 after the Oregon Youth Authority began intercepting her mail, according to court documents.
Kirkpatrick worked as a juvenile custody services specialist for the county’s Department of Community Justice for less than two months, but his employment with the county wasn’t terminated until May 2020, court documents say.
Kirkpatrick operates a popular TikTok account that has racked up millions of views, the Portland Tribune previously reported.
— Zane Sparling; email@example.com; 503-319-7083; @pdxzane
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